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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

beauty is overpowering, and, from a spiritual point of view, it
possesses a subtle magnetic vibration of a supremely high order.

"I have been on pilgrimage to most of India's holy places but none
of them has such a high spiritual vibration as I have found around this
Tibetan peak and lake. Local legends say that the Buddhas still dwell
in their invisible, subtle bodies upon its gorgeous silvery summit, aod
I can well believe it. And I do not know a more fascinating or more
inspiring scene than sunset upon the bluish-green waters of Manas-
rowar. It looks like a huge emerald set between two majestic moun-
tains—Kailas on the north and Gurla Mandhatha on the south.
The resplendent rays of the waning sun add a mystic charm to a
lake which is already mysteriously charming in itself. The spiritual
vibrations emanating from it enrapture me and lull the mind into
sublime serenity; often it has transported me into involuntary
ecstasies. The best type of Buddhist monks in Tibet are to be found
in the monasteries around these holy shores, and several among them
strive day and night to attain the eternal silence of Nirvana. Could
you have come with me this time it would have made me happier
still. But we must accept destiny; perhaps next year it will relent and
the permit will be granted to you; then I shall return to India and,
if you are free, we shall go together."

He touches his palms in salutation and is gone for the night.

Next day we wander into the forest and move along happily
under the spreading branches of sombre firs, treading a yielding
carpet of decaying fir-needles. A few wild Himalayan primroses,
with their serrated petals, give some occasional brighter colour. A
sudden gust of wind sweeps across the valleys, and the. trees wave
their dark-green arms above the ground. Each of these firs looks like
a giant Christmas tree. Perhaps this forest is the elusive home of
Santa Claus? Perhaps I shall come face to face with him here one
day? I shall dearly love to meet the white-bearded old gentleman
and ask him a few questions, for he haunted my childhood days
and gave rise to visions of his big bag of gifts that, alas, never
materialized.

We find a clean shady spot and sit down* How wonderfully
restful for the eyes to be out of the glaring yellow light of the plains!
We chat and chat. Soon we turn to our favourite theme and the
Yogi becomes autobiographical. I induce him to recount the story
of his first visit to Kailas, Pranavananda strokes his thick black beard
in reflective silence, then finds voice.

"Eight years have passed since I set out, with a companion, a
brother disciple. Our teacher, the holy Swami Jnanananda, had

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